Scientists think they may have started to unravel the link between the influenza vaccine and narcolepsy, shedding precious light onto how the Pandemrix vaccine given in the 2009/2010 swine flu outbreak put children at an increased risk of developing the involuntary sleep disorder.
At least 900 cases of narcolepsy associated with the vaccine have so far been reported in Europe, with the UK government conceding in September that this particular swine flu vaccine could, on rare occasions, trigger the disorder.
The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed four recent novel H7N9 avian flu cases, as scientists revealed their latest risk assessments based on genetic monitoring and lab tests.
In a statement, the WHO said it has received reports of two infections from China's Zhejiang province, which include cases involving a 57-year-old man and a 30-year-old man who is his son-in-law. Some machine translations of a Chinese-language media report had suggested the two were father and son.
The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health of Hong Kong announced on Friday its second confirmed case of avian influenza A H7N9 and asked the public to take precautions against infection.
We learned last week that a team at Imperial College London had uncovered a “blueprint” for a universal influenza vaccine. But what other approaches are underway in pursuit of this so-called “Holy Grail”?
"The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) was established in 1999 to respond promptly, efficiently, and with scientific rigour to vaccine safety issues of potential global importance.
The Committee provides independent, authoritative, scientific advice to WHO on vaccine safety issues of global or regional concern with the potential to affect in the short or long term national immunization programmes."